Nike ChinaCapturing the Chinese market is every marketer’s dream. More than a billion potential customers in a newly open society that continues to grow more and more infatuated with brand-name goods? We can certainly see why everyone’s so interested.

So what are the world’s largest companies doing to familiarize the Chinese public with their products? Well, 2012 found them executing a lot of sly promotional campaigns via social media. Jeremy Webb (@thepekingorder), co-lead of Social@Ogilvy Beijing, recently provided us with his list of the year’s top 10 brand posts on Weibo, the Chinese micro-messaging equivalent of Twitter. It’s a fascinating list that shows us how PR/marketing practices in China are quite similar to those in the Western world.

In fact, we’d say that speedy, topical posts offering clever takes on the day’s “water cooler” topics are even more valuable in China than in the United States. Take, for example, the year’s most-shared post, which predictably concerned the Summer Olympics: It’s a Nike ad with a message about fairness, indirectly referring to the fact that many Chinese citizens believed the London judges to be biased against Chinese athletes.

Damage control is important in China, too:

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